Perfect Storm: Quell The Tide of Rising Patient No-Shows

March 27, 2020 | Stericycle Communication Solutions

The pressure to increase market share and patient access to your health system poses real challenges in today's healthcare climate. If you want to stay afloat, you must make sure that you not only acquire and retain patients—but that you don't miss opportunities to provide care to the people who need you. No-shows can cause your organization to drown if you're not careful.

Implementing proven solutions to reduce the number of patients who fail to show for their scheduled appointments can help protect your providers' time, your revenue, and your reputation—all of which is imperative to your survival in the ever-changing healthcare waters.

Gaps in your schedule are the holes in the fishing net

Working to reduce no-show patients and late cancellations is as important as the effort and investment made to acquire new patients. Accounting for the loss and impact of unused time slots gives perspective on the scope of the problem for your organization. From a macro viewpoint, these appointment holes costs the national healthcare system some $150 billion annually, according to recent study reported in a Forbes article.

Your team can apply predictive analytics and identify patterns for the root causes to examine what impacts patients' decision-making. When you determine the key reasons why patients don't show, you can begin to curtail this costly trend.

A tough catch for your people and processes

When a patient fails to show up, shows up late or doesn't show up properly prepared—perhaps missing diagnostic orders—your staff's schedule is thrown off—sometimes until the lunch break or even for the rest of the day. Although the front desk and healthcare staff scramble to keep things moving, these issues can easily and understandably overwhelm them.

Inefficient processes for managing these untimely events, although consistently expected and expensive, create stress for everyone. The attention your staff and patients put toward addressing missed appointments shifts everyone's focus and put the organization's profitability at risk.

The cost of the one that got away

Reasons that lead to no-shows run the gamut, ranging from limited access to public transportation and being over-scheduled in day-to-day life to major psychological burden, the Forbes story reports. While your health system is working hard to increase your market share, the additional challenges posed by a rising tide of no-shows can seem insurmountable.

Beyond lost revenue, another concern tied to no-show patients is quality of life for those who need both preventative and diagnostic care. An aetnahealth study shows missed appointments led to reduced care plan adherence. With one or more no-shows, attrition increases almost 70 percent over an 18-month period. Additionally, an eight-fold increase in all-cause mortality was found among patients with mental health issues who missed two or more appointments in the course of a year

How to quell the tide of rising no-shows

An integrated communications and patient engagement platform that enables your health system to send customized messages directly to patients is proven to increase action and adherence, specifically through:

  • Patient appointment reminders to remind, confirm and reschedule
  • No show notifications to encourage rescheduling
  • Mass patient notifications related to office closures, the impact of weather warnings and open enrollment
  • Order and referral adherence to ensure the completion of diagnostic orders
  • Patient satisfaction survey administration
  • Population health management messaging to promote preventative health  recommendations and measure patients' physical and mental state
  • Reminders around prep for an upcoming visit, care coordination, billing and more

If you find that some or all of these applications could support your system's needs, contact us to schedule a demo to learn how Stericycle Communications and Reminders can improve patient no-show and attrition rates. Bringing patients into your practice on a more consistent basis helps boost participation in their treatment plans and your bottom line—and can lead to smoother waters.

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